Growing Unrooted Plant Cuttings


Cuttings propagate many different types of plants, shrubs and trees. Once you have the cutting, the key is growing the un-rooted plant cutting to the point that it has developed roots in order to grow into a viable, strong plant. Un-rooted plant cuttings can be obtained by cutting new, fresh growth from existing plants and keeping the cuttings moist until you can give them a place to take root.

Step 1

Keep all cuttings wrapped in wet paper towels or wet newspaper in a cool place until you are ready to work with the cuttings. The quicker you can work with the cuttings, getting them into the soil, the better your chances of success.

Step 2

Fill 6-inch growing pots with a good quality potting soil. Water the soil until it is moist to the touch and water drains from the bottom of the pot.

Step 3

Remove the paper towels from the cuttings. Dip the end of each cutting into rooting hormone. Ensure that the hormone covers the lower 2 to 3 inches of the cutting.

Step 4

Create 1- to 2-inch-deep holes in the moist soil using a pencil or chopstick.

Step 5

Place the cutting into the hole, ensuring that the cutting touches the bottom of the hole. Fill moist soil around the cutting to keep it upright and stable in the pot.

Step 6

Place a large plastic bag over the pot. This will create a mini-greenhouse effect, giving the cutting the moisture and humidity it needs to produce roots.

Step 7

Allow the cutting to remain in the plastic for several weeks, watering as necessary to keep the soil moist.

Step 8

Remove the plastic from the cuttings when new growth begins to appear. This is the sign that root growth is also beginning.

Step 9

Repot or transplant the cutting when it outgrows the 6-inch pot.

Things You'll Need

  • Paper towels
  • 6-inch growing pots
  • Potting soil
  • Rooting hormone
  • Pencil
  • Large plastic bags


  • Purdue University Extension: New Plants From Cuttings
  • North Carolina State University: Plant Propagation by Stem Cuttings: Instructions for the Home Gardener
  • "Encyclopedia of Organic Gardening" The Editors of Organic Gardening and Farming Magazine, 1975
Keywords: grow plant cuttings, root plant cuttings, plant cutting propagation

About this Author

G. K. Bayne is a freelance writer, currently writing for Demand Studios where her expertise in back-to-basics, computers and electrical equipment are the basis of her body of work. Bayne began her writing career in 1975 and has written for Demand since 2007.